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PolarBlues

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Hello, my name is Polar Blues and I like prog.

Thread created not to completely derail this one: https://www.rpgpub.com/threads/geek...rpg-for-2018-how-many-have-you-purchased.2304

Only rule, no nitpicking over definitions about what counts as "prog".

To get the ball rolling...

I think that's an oversimplification. For one thing, you are leaving out the departure of Steve Hackett in 1977, who I think was more of a creative force in the early band than Gabriel. Dumarest Dumarest rightly listed The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway as the example of good Genesis, and Gabriel, while he did write almost all the lyrics, didn't compose a note of music on that album. Gabriel is undoubtedly a very talented guy, but it is very wrong to suggest that early Genesis was just some backup band for him.

Listening to Steve Hackett's solo albums is a good way to get a sense of what he brought to the band.
Spectral Mornings is another classic solo album by him.

And to give Phil Collins credit, he was one of the best drummers ever.

I'd also say that Genesis didn't immediately start to suck after Gabriel and Hackett left, even if its best days were behind it. It was a slow slide. I'll defend Abacab a good album even though it lacks both Gabriel and Hackett.

The band was a band, and it's the mixture of talents that made it great. Personally I don't any of theri solo works matched their collect achievements, though "Voyage of the Acolyte" is very good. Same goes for Yes. Other than Fish Out of Water I've haven't come across any of the solo ablums (and both Anderson and Wakeman had a significant solo career that really does much for me).
 

stonetoflesh

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I love prog rock too! Sadly, I was born too late (1975) to participate in its glorious 1970s heyday.

Continuing the Genesis discussion:

I was born in '75. My parents didn't listen to much music in the house (certainly not prog rock!) when I was growing up, and only knew of Genesis from pop songs on the radio. Phil Collins, to my mind, was a singer. In my late teens, I started playing drums and listening to prog rock -- first Rush, then King Crimson, then Yes, etc. One afternoon, while browsing in a local record shop run by a massive Yes fan, I was introduced to the glory and magic of early Genesis. I can't remember what tune it was, but it caused me to snatch up The Best... Genesis 2-LP set from the used bin and race home to listen to it. My brain was absolutely boggled when I saw Phil Collins credited as the drummer!
 

stonetoflesh

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The Best Show with Tom Scharpling (formerly The Best Show on WFMU) is a radio comedy talk show that has a recurring guest -- a green, three-eyed puppet named Vance who loves prog rock, especially Genesis. Over the years, he's been working on a two-volume biography of Steve Hackett and at one point was living with Tony Banks. He's also had on-air discussions/monologues about Soft Machine, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, and others.
1545485897914.png 1545486282289.png
 

TheophilusCarter

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Prog rock was my first really favorite kind of music. I pretty listened to whatever was on the radio until around '84; then I discovered a few ELP albums in my Dad's record collection. After that, some older kids in high school lent me Yes, King Crimson, etc. I got pretty burned out on them by late college, didn't listen for years, but maybe a decade or so ago, I started listening again. It doesn't all hold up well these days, but a lot of it does.
 

PolarBlues

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Hi Polar Blues! How did you get started with prog? What are your favorite prog bands/albums?

It started when my older sister brought home a copy Close to the Edge. It think for her it was just another LP in an ecletic collection, and I had not wider context in which to place the music but when I heard it something just flicked a switch in my brian and I was hooked for life. I would be a few more before I started buying my own records and discovering the other prog bands (not that any one used the term at the time). So as for Theophilus above, my sound track for the longest time was made up Yes, Genesis, ELP with sprinkles of Van Der Graaf, Gentle Giant, Renaissance and such.

I kind of experienced a second explosion of prog about 10 years ago when I suddenly discovered the new generation of proggers. Most specifically Magenta, Glass Hammer, Spocks Beard/Transatlantic. Magenta is particular have been consitently good across all their albums without simply repeating themselves. I've been fortunate enough to see them live a few times. They are amazing.
 

Dumarest

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One of my favorite record reviews of all time was for a Yes album. It was unfair, nasty, condescending, and useless, but still hilarious: "No."

I almost started a thread similar to this. I finally heard King Crimson's debut record not long ago. I probably have a few "prog rock" albums if we count Miles Davis and similarly "fused" artists. So hard to define sounds. I've actually been wondering where to start and what is considered "prog rock."
 

PolarBlues

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One of my favorite record reviews of all time was for a Yes album. It was unfair, nasty, condescending, and useless, but still hilarious: "No."

I almost started a thread similar to this. I finally heard King Crimson's debut record not long ago. I probably have a few "prog rock" albums if we count Miles Davis and similarly "fused" artists. So hard to define sounds. I've actually been wondering where to start and what is considered "prog rock."

Musical labels are always fuzzy at the edges. Let's just say that if a a track is from a British band, written in the early 70s and is very long and complicated it is probably prog. That doesn't mean other stuff aren't prog too.

As what makes a good starting point King Crimson's "Court of the Crimson King" which you mention is actually as good a starting point you could hope for. It's good album with some of the biggest names in the game and often quoted as the album the started prog.

Other UK 70s prog classics I'd recommend are Genesis "Selling England by the Pound" and Yes "Close to the Edge". Both albums feature a consistently good set of tracks (free of padding or excesses) which have aged surpisingly well. Close to the Edge itself can come across as assault on the senses first time you hear it, having to listent to track multiple times before it starts making sense is kind of a definiting feature of prog, for better or worse.

For something more this century, Magenta's albums "Seven" and "The Twenty Seven Club" are superb. Here's a taster (it's the single edit of a much longer track).

"


But of course when it comes to music, it's all so very subjective.
 

TheophilusCarter

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Yah, we can't even define OSR around here, let's not try to define prog rock. :smile: There are some fairly definitive examples (King Crimson, Yes, ELP) and some edge cases (Led Zepplin? Supertramp?!). But it's all cool ...
As big a prog head as I was back in the day, there were certain bands I just didn't listen to as much for some reason. Definitely my aforementioned examples, but not so much Rush or Genesis. I did get into Genesis much later (last several years, in fact). Rush is a weird case, as I like them when I hear them, but never really went out of my way to own many of their albums.
 

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I really don't keep up on genres beyond the most broad strokes, but based on what google tells me I'm not truly a fan of Prog rock, with the exception of Pink Floyd (Wish you were here and Animals still seem to fit the description), and perhaps Peter Gabriel if he still counts as prog rock post Genesis.

Apparently what I actually am is a fan of many bands that were prog rock, but I like are after they transitioned to a more commercially viable style, so not considered real prog rock by purists. ELP, ELO, Jethro Tull, Yes staples of late 70s and 80s rock stations. There are a few songs from King Crimson, Procol Harem and the Moody Blues which I think qualify although again they are the ones with frequent air play on rock stations.


The band was a band, and it's the mixture of talents that made it great. Personally I don't any of theri solo works matched their collect achievements, though "Voyage of the Acolyte" is very good. Same goes for Yes. Other than Fish Out of Water I've haven't come across any of the solo ablums (and both Anderson and Wakeman had a significant solo career that really does much for me).

In general I agree, groups are often better than the individual solo efforts. The group often reigns in the excesses of individuals, on the other side though the loss of key member often has a drastic effect on a group.


This is clearly evident with Pink Floyd, Waters and Gilmore are good on their own but Pink Floyd was far stronger before the split. As solo artists they have occasionally managed to match their work with Pink Floyd, but as a whole not. My opinion anyway.
 

Dumarest

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So how about Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock ? Combination of rock/blues/jazz/classical, late 1980s.
talk-talk-spirit-of-eden-turns-30-album-cover-anniversarylg.jpg MI0000040206.jpg
 

Voros

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To me the Kings of what most would identify as prog rock are King Crimson. Their run of albums with Bill Brufford on percussion like Larks Tongue, Starless and Bible Black and Red is unmatched. Crimson are a huge influence on the great late 80s band Slint who went on to be the seed for ‘math rock’ which is really just a punky/metal prog. Lots of great underappreciated bands in that style carrying KC’s style forward moreso than a lot of modern bands under the prog banner.

I really dig the psychedelic jazz pop of Soft Machine, Matching Mole and Kevin Ayers and Robert Wyatt’s solo albums. Here the solo albums are as good if not better than the band records.

The entire very English Canterbury scene is very much my jam as well.

Gentle Giant’s Glasshouse is terrific and sadly hard to find on vinyl for a reasonable price in North America last I checked. Van Der Graf Generator are another underappreciated band.

But my true love is all the crazy psychedelic avant garde noisy prog the Germans produced throughout the 70s that the punk/indie kids call ‘Kraut Rock’ so they don’t have to admit to liking a ‘prog’ band: Can most majestically but also Faust, Neu, Amon Duul 1 and 2, early UFO, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Cluster, Harmonia.

There are also lots of inspired 70s prog bands from other countries like Magma in France, and others much less known from Mexico, Japan and elsewhere all worth seeking out.

I do find I tend to like the early to mid 70s prog a bit more than the late 70s into the 80s where to me a lot of energy is lost and things become too slick but that’s true of a lot of rock during that era.
 

TheophilusCarter

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I only recently came across Starcastle, an American prog rock group that blatantly but effectively ripped off Yes:
 

Voros

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Yes are one of the prog bands I wasn’t able to get into because I dislike the lead singer’s voice too much. Same with my fellow Canucks Rush. Sometimes I wish there was a vocal eraser function for music.
 

Ghost Whistler

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Yes are one of the prog bands I wasn’t able to get into because I dislike the lead singer’s voice too much. Same with my fellow Canucks Rush. Sometimes I wish there was a vocal eraser function for music.
I like Rush, but Neil Peart's constant whining really got on my tits. Don't want to be a rockstar Neil? Well don't be!

Geddy's voice was shot by the end though.
 

Ghost Whistler

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Musical labels are always fuzzy at the edges. Let's just say that if a a track is from a British band, written in the early 70s and is very long and complicated it is probably prog. That doesn't mean other stuff aren't prog too.

As what makes a good starting point King Crimson's "Court of the Crimson King" which you mention is actually as good a starting point you could hope for. It's good album with some of the biggest names in the game and often quoted as the album the started prog.

Other UK 70s prog classics I'd recommend are Genesis "Selling England by the Pound" and Yes "Close to the Edge". Both albums feature a consistently good set of tracks (free of padding or excesses) which have aged surpisingly well. Close to the Edge itself can come across as assault on the senses first time you hear it, having to listent to track multiple times before it starts making sense is kind of a definiting feature of prog, for better or worse.

For something more this century, Magenta's albums "Seven" and "The Twenty Seven Club" are superb. Here's a taster (it's the single edit of a much longer track).

"


But of course when it comes to music, it's all so very subjective.
Not bad, however there's a really simple way to discern if music is prog these days.

Does it feature Roine Stolt? If yes = then PROG!

As for King Crimson,what on earth are they doing? Why have they got three drummers?
 

PolarBlues

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Gentle Giant’s Glasshouse is terrific and sadly hard to find on vinyl for a reasonable price in North America last I checked. Van Der Graf Generator are another underappreciated band.

There are also lots of inspired 70s prog bands from other countries like Magma in France, and others much less known from Mexico, Japan and elsewhere all worth seeking out.

I was a big VDGG fan, but I'm not sure all their back catalogue has aged terribly well. I may need to play some of my old cds just to remind myself. As for Gentle Giant had some truly magnificent vocal arrangements but they disappeared completely from the scene. I recall reading once that one of the guys now just ran a souvenir shop at a sea side resort, or something like that - take that with pinch of salt.

As for the other Europeans, I remember Italian outfit Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) being something of a big deal.
 

Endless Flight

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I read somewhere that Brian Wilson was prog. I think it was a Pet Sounds, “Good Vibrations”, and SMiLE sessions era. Perhaps because of some of the unusual instrumention he used. The lyrical content of the material, whether by Brian, Love or Parks had little to do with prog. I think the comparisons are thin and are used to prop up prog more than propping up Wilson, who doesn’t need it.
 

Endless Flight

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No hobbits, spaceships, wizards, or robots? What the hell kind of "music" is that?!?! :goof:

Wilson wrote songs about tomboys, roller skating and Johnny Carson but wouldn’t do any about the above material. :hehe:
 

3rik

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Toadmaster

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So, post about your favorite "prog" albums and why you like them. Preferably with images of the album sleeves!


For me it has to be Pink Floyd Animals, no hobbits, robots or wizards, but it has pigs, dogs and sheep.

Animals.jpg


This album also contributed to one of the great scenes on WKRP (of course surpassed by the WKRP great turkey drop).


Wish there was a version with better quality.
 

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Red and Starless and Bible Black may have better songwriting but for me no King Crimson album (or prog rock album for that matter) rocks harder than Lark's Tongue in Aspic. I've converted prog-haters with one listen of 'Lark's Tongue in Aspic Part II.' There aren't any hobbits, elves or robots in the lyrics either. I sometimes describe KC as 'prog rock for those who hate prog rock.'

King Crimson - Larks.jpg

 

Voros

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I was a big VDGG fan, but I'm not sure all their back catalogue has aged terribly well. I may need to play some of my old cds just to remind myself. As for Gentle Giant had some truly magnificent vocal arrangements but they disappeared completely from the scene. I recall reading once that one of the guys now just ran a souvenir shop at a sea side resort, or something like that - take that with pinch of salt.

As for the other Europeans, I remember Italian outfit Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) being something of a big deal.

I think several of VDGG records from the early to mid 70s do hold up quite well but Peter Hamill's solo records may even be better. In Camera is intense, weird and gothic and Nadir's Big Chance an acknowledged influence on the Pistols and Public Image Ltd. Actually when Lydon played a few tracks of NBC on the BBC and praised Hamill it pissed off the prig McLaren as it contradicted the anti-prog propaganda he was using to sell the Year-Zero nonense.
 

Dumarest

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Red and Starless and Bible Black may have better songwriting but for me no King Crimson album (or prog rock album for that matter) rocks harder than Lark's Tongue in Aspic. I've converted prog-haters with one listen of 'Lark's Tongue in Aspic Part II.' There aren't any hobbits, elves or robots in the lyrics either.
Hmm...I notice you didn't mention spaceships...

Edit: ...or wizards!
 

PolarBlues

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I think several of VDGG records from the early to mid 70s do hold up quite well but Peter Hamill's solo records may even be better. In Camera is intense, weird and gothic and Nadir's Big Chance an acknowledged influence on the Pistols and Public Image Ltd. Actually when Lydon played a few tracks of NBC on the BBC and praised Hamill it pissed off the prig McLaren as it contradicted the anti-prog propaganda he was using to sell the Year-Zero nonense.

Oh yeah, Hammill's solo work is full of gems line In Camera, Silent Corner.. and The Black Box.

But as for Nadir, I personally don't care for that album and its acknowledged influence on punk rock is not a good thing in my book.

There is nothing subjective about my adversion to punk rock.
 

PolarBlues

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For me it has to be Pink Floyd Animals, no hobbits, robots or wizards, but it has pigs, dogs and sheep.

View attachment 6188


This album also contributed to one of the great scenes on WKRP (of course surpassed by the WKRP great turkey drop).


Wish there was a version with better quality.

Love that track. Even despite its overwright lyrics, it's my favourite bit of Floyd.
 

PolarBlues

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No hobbits, spaceships, wizards, or robots? What the hell kind of "music" is that?!?! :goof:

Funny you should mention that. For the longest time round here, Prog suffered from the sort of social stigma as roleplaying games which in both cases has only recently faded. I really do have the worst luck when it comes to interests.
 

3rik

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I've actually been wondering where to start and what is considered "prog rock."
There's a pretty simple lithmus test, if it's annoying as hell to me it's most likely prog rock. Therefore, Talk Talk simply cannot be prog rock.
 
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soltakss

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Sadly, I was born too late (1975) to participate in its glorious 1970s heyday.

Unfortunately, I wasn't. When I was younger, I thought that I liked Prog Rock, then joined the Prog Rock Society at University and very quickly found that I liked popular Prog Rock, not the stuff that drones on and on with 5 minute solos.
 

TheophilusCarter

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Just found a copy of Genesis' And Then There Were Three at the local Half Price store. The latest of the albums I own by them was the previous one, so I figured why not. Interesting. It's definitely a transitional album, basically the last prog album, with some increasingly pop sensibilities, including the big hit "Follow You Follow Me." I was surprised to recall that it came out in '78, as I thought that hit was much later; it certainly sounds like a mid-80s tune.
 

PolarBlues

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Regarding "And Then There Were Three" form a musical perspective, the quality of the lyrics took a real dive.

"Hey there's a Snowman
Hey, Hey what a Snowman
Pray for the Snowman
Ooh, Ooh what a Snowman"


Can we please have our hobbits, spaceships and wizards back?
 

TheophilusCarter

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Regarding "And Then There Were Three" form a musical perspective, the quality of the lyrics took a real dive.

"Hey there's a Snowman
Hey, Hey what a Snowman
Pray for the Snowman
Ooh, Ooh what a Snowman"


Can we please have our hobbits, spaceships and wizards back?
I don't know, maybe it's all the Xmas tunes I'm hearing lately, but that seems fine to me ... ;)
 
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